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Lord of the Rings Online: A Look Ahead with Jeff Steefel

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

News Manager Keith Cross recently had the opportunity to talk to Lord of the Rings Online Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel about the last year of Lord of the Rings Online and where Turbine's focus will be in 2008.

It’s that time of year again. A time when the New Year still has that new year smell. When every fortune-teller and futurist comes out of the woodwork to give their predictions about what our next run around the sun will bring. In that spirit, we thought it would be a good idea to dust off the old crystal ball and peer into the future of Lord of the Rings Online. Unfortunately, we overspent on poultices and herbal remedies in 2007 and we’ve been forced to cut crystal balls and other soothsaying devices from our dark arts budget. Luckily, there was plenty of room in our telecommunications budget, so I just picked up the phone and spoke to Lord of the Rings Online Executive Producer Jeffrey Steffel to see what he had to say.

But before we can look forward, we need to look back on the year that was and what it meant for Lord of the Rings Online. LotRO had a notably smooth and relatively bug free launch in late April 2007. The launch set the bar for AAA MMOs and confirmed that a smooth launch is a necessary ingredient if you want to call your game AAA. Since launch, Turbine has been busy adding content and features in the form of free expansions, called books. Three books have been released thus far, opening new areas to explore, bringing quests with new foes to defeat, and adding new features like monster play, player housing, and more.

Read the whole article here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • theniffrigtheniffrig DublinPosts: 351Member

    Interesting. LOTRO is definately a game to watch.

    "Few details about specific customizations have been released but we can say that characters will soon be able to wear one piece of clothing for display purposes, and another piece for statistical purposes, which will complement LotRO’s equipment system nicely."

    That is a great addition to any MMO.

  • NikepwnsNikepwns gloucestershirePosts: 134Member

    Yea thats cool they have that on eq2.

     

    One thing im thinking about though is will they have any new regions coming this year and if so when ?

    Played: WoW, Guild wars, Eve, SWG, and more

  • SinisterCBSinisterCB Some City, CAPosts: 302Member

    I think it may be time to re-sub for me. I cancelled after levling my char and ran out of things to do. At that time, I had nothing left to do but Raids and it was hard to find a good raid group. Interested to see how the new chapters are.

    "I'm not a racist...I only hate stupid people..."-SinisterCB

  • brenthbrenth rock island, WAPosts: 288Member

    I havent played in a while though I still keep an account active. 

    I left lotr for the same reason I leave most MMO same ol rutt of  kill/level ,, idiot AIs ,, and lack of a perception of reality.  cookie cutter quests,,

    that being said  I would still highly recomend LOTR as the launch was smooth and complete,,  complete being the operative word  to me it didnt feel like they were dumping a half done game onto a hungry comunity,, they treated the players with respect in this instance,   while I played I had seen MARKED inprovements to the game world like the removal of obviously artificial barriers. and monster design has improved and of course hobbit feet! also the atention to detail when it comes to layout of of the lotr  land makes things like the tolkin atlases be of added value in the universe something other MMOs lack is real world references.

    as a point of the LOOK AHEAD  one thing I want LOTR to be very aware of is they need to address as a game gets older  the games become TOP HEAVY  and the "noob" zones become emptier and emptier, to the point that any new person coming into the game sees a very stark and empty starting area (a very negative thing) if they want to keep LOTRO from looking like EQ1  they should address this problem very early as it it much easier to add a few things each chapter than try to address it 5 years from now when there are only 1-2 players in all of bree.

    what else would i like to see?   more resource nodes or a bit more yeald out of existing ones  got fustrated wasting all my time ore hunting,

    puzzles and more terrain interaction  charactor customization,  collections and and research types of endevers     more things players can do that they dont have to micro manage, productive   things they can do while washing dishes  or waiting for a quest group to arive,  books and messages to decypher    merit badges to collect like for exploration or acomplishments.

    make a world, not a game, we dont want another game.

  • antoniuspiusantoniuspius Oakland, CAPosts: 55Member

    Originally posted by brenth

    make a world, not a game, we dont want another game.

    I am quite happy with the world I live in, so why shouldn't I want a gameto have fun?

  • mindw0rkmindw0rk St-petersburgPosts: 1,351Member

    This article is just a compilation of well-known information. We would like to see some exclusive

  • woalCEwoalCE Iowa City, IAPosts: 32Member

    Yeah, I have to agree with the last poster, you gave us bullet points from the devchat a few weeks ago.

    Enjoy your favorite MMO with us!
    crimsongamers.com

  • vipjerryvipjerry ZagrebPosts: 157Member

    This game is WoW or EQ2 with less options, you really have to be a huge JRR Tolkien fan to actually play it for more than a month. This book 12 info just reminds me that nothings gonna change and that this will continue to be a sterile, noninventive, uninteresting and totally dumbed down mmorpg.

  • Cpt.StubbingCpt.Stubbing Okc, OKPosts: 269Member

    I just wish that if your toon is from Rohan, you would start in Rohan, same for the others like Gondor and the dwarf places. It seems to me that LoTRO is getting there but the whole world of Tolkien is so big its gonna take a while. Except for housing, I think they have done a great job so far.

  • Cpt.StubbingCpt.Stubbing Okc, OKPosts: 269Member
    Originally posted by brenth


    I havent played in a while though I still keep an account active. 
    I left lotr for the same reason I leave most MMO same ol rutt of  kill/level ,, idiot AIs ,, and lack of a perception of reality.  cookie cutter quests,,
    that being said  I would still highly recomend LOTR as the launch was smooth and complete,,  complete being the operative word  to me it didnt feel like they were dumping a half done game onto a hungry comunity,, they treated the players with respect in this instance,   while I played I had seen MARKED inprovements to the game world like the removal of obviously artificial barriers. and monster design has improved and of course hobbit feet! also the atention to detail when it comes to layout of of the lotr  land makes things like the tolkin atlases be of added value in the universe something other MMOs lack is real world references.
    as a point of the LOOK AHEAD  one thing I want LOTR to be very aware of is they need to address as a game gets older  the games become TOP HEAVY  and the "noob" zones become emptier and emptier, to the point that any new person coming into the game sees a very stark and empty starting area (a very negative thing) if they want to keep LOTRO from looking like EQ1  they should address this problem very early as it it much easier to add a few things each chapter than try to address it 5 years from now when there are only 1-2 players in all of bree.
    what else would i like to see?   more resource nodes or a bit more yeald out of existing ones  got fustrated wasting all my time ore hunting,
    puzzles and more terrain interaction  charactor customization,  collections and and research types of endevers     more things players can do that they dont have to micro manage, productive   things they can do while washing dishes  or waiting for a quest group to arive,  books and messages to decypher    merit badges to collect like for exploration or acomplishments.

    I understand your point. If you make a good enough world the GAME will take care of itself. I THINK thats what your trying to say. If thats the case I agree. If not, I want a game.

  • mindw0rkmindw0rk St-petersburgPosts: 1,351Member
    Originally posted by vipjerry


    This game is WoW or EQ2 with less options, you really have to be a huge JRR Tolkien fan to actually play it for more than a month. This book 12 info just reminds me that nothings gonna change and that this will continue to be a sterile, noninventive, uninteresting and totally dumbed down mmorpg.



    Im not a huge Tolkien fan and i have a blast in LoTRO. This game has amazing graphics and jaw dropping landscapes

  • smitty0356smitty0356 Goose Creek, SCPosts: 368Member

    This article makes me happy to have the founder's lifetime account.  I was weary of the price early on, but I really think the game has a good hold on me.  There is some staunch competition out there for my time, in the name of WAR and AOC, but I think this will not get the uninstall for quite a while!

    In fact I'm going to do some missions right now to get ready for book 12

    Elite poster by 82

  • OBK1OBK1 BorPosts: 637Member

    Mostly I would like these things added:

    1. More areas of Middle Earth!!!

    2. More options to make you character unique within the class, that is some sort of talent/AA system. And a much better one than the sad one already in place.

    3. More solo content.

    Number 3 seems to be going to be fixed, hopefully number one as well.

  • Cpt.StubbingCpt.Stubbing Okc, OKPosts: 269Member

    Originally posted by OBK1


    Mostly I would like these things added:
    1. More areas of Middle Earth!!!
    2. More options to make you character unique within the class, that is some sort of talent/AA system. And a much better one than the sad one already in place.
    3. More solo content.
    Number 3 seems to be going to be fixed, hopefully number one as well.
    Preach on my brother from another mother.

    I think they will get to it though we just have to be patient.

  • ZodanZodan TamperePosts: 564Member

    LOTRO is definitely not bad game, but it is sadly quite simplified - which is not necessarily a bad thing but leveling feels like grinding at level 20 already because of that. I tried Burglar and Hunter which I both played past level 20, but felt solo progression slowed too much already at that point.

    I really hope that fellowship moves(what were they called again) get revamped and solo play gets a GOOD long look at it.

    my 2coppers.

  • ThillianThillian BratislavaPosts: 3,143Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Cpt.Stubbing


    I just wish that if your toon is from Rohan, you would start in Rohan, same for the others like Gondor and the dwarf places. It seems to me that LoTRO is getting there but the whole world of Tolkien is so big its gonna take a while. Except for housing, I think they have done a great job so far.
    That's a good point. I believe it's not possible to change it later on. It could be added at the beginning by giving different bonuses for different racial backgrounds. Imagine having a rohan human player bonus to vitality or a lothlorien elf bonus to power or something. It could have tons of options like this. They didn't even need to add the whole rohan for instance at the start. Just the first 1-2 introductory zone that would be a manifestation of rohan and then teleport you to town of archet or whatever. That would add depth to game and more character customization.

    I really wonder how they gonna do it later on. Whether all zones that will be added later will be like 50-60 zones and then 60-70 zones or something. That way it will be a bit weird tho. Imagine the zones that are now level (1-50) will become lowlevel later on. Mirkwood, white towers, gondor, rohan, far east, dale town, dead marches, anduin vales, Grey Havens, .... all those zones will be probably 50-80. Because I mostly can't imagine how they would implement them for levels 20-30. The game doesn't really need that unless they slower the leveling otherwise players would skip half of the content.

    But that won't be very logical. Angmar is supposed to be as dangerous as Moria or Dead Marches or Harad. But then if those zones will be for higher levels then Angmar will be a walk in the park and most mobs will be grey. Or they want to keep the level cap at 50 all the time and really just add zones 20-50 all the time?

    I'm really concerned about that.

    All I can possibly imagine is to add different sides to the game. Playable orcs, goblins, trolls. Giving them zones for 1-50 that could be those zones I mentioned where the evil side would level up. That would also mean opening these zones to "good" side and that's were open PvP would take place. At the same time opening current zones to "dark" side to rampage. That could come as first payed expansion. I hope the chicken play they added already is a preparation for making such a move.

    It wouldn't need to be just the dark side, if you played the old CCG Middle Earth, you know there was more sides in the conflict. Fallen Wizards and their own army and areas, Balrog side (Underground races), Harad, Easterlings ... etc

    REALITY CHECK

  • Cpt.StubbingCpt.Stubbing Okc, OKPosts: 269Member
    Originally posted by Thillian


     
    Originally posted by Cpt.Stubbing


    I just wish that if your toon is from Rohan, you would start in Rohan, same for the others like Gondor and the dwarf places. It seems to me that LoTRO is getting there but the whole world of Tolkien is so big its gonna take a while. Except for housing, I think they have done a great job so far.
    That's a good point. I believe it's not possible to change it later on. It could be added at the beginning by giving different bonuses for different racial backgrounds. Imagine having a rohan human player bonus to vitality or a lothlorien elf bonus to power or something. It could have tons of options like this. They didn't even need to add the whole rohan for instance at the start. Just the first 1-2 introductory zone that would be a manifestation of rohan and then teleport you to town of archet or whatever. That would add depth to game and more character customization.

     

    I really wonder how they gonna do it later on. Whether all zones that will be added later will be like 50-60 zones and then 60-70 zones or something. That way it will be a bit weird tho. Imagine the zones that are now level (1-50) will become lowlevel later on. Mirkwood, white towers, gondor, rohan, far east, dale town, dead marches, anduin vales, Grey Havens, .... all those zones will be probably 50-80. Because I mostly can't imagine how they would implement them for levels 20-30. The game doesn't really need that unless they slower the leveling otherwise players would skip half of the content.

    But that won't be very logical. Angmar is supposed to be as dangerous as Moria or Dead Marches or Harad. But then if those zones will be for higher levels then Angmar will be a walk in the park and most mobs will be grey. Or they want to keep the level cap at 50 all the time and really just add zones 20-50 all the time?

    I'm really concerned about that.

    All I can possibly imagine is to add different sides to the game. Playable orcs, goblins, trolls. Giving them zones for 1-50 that could be those zones I mentioned where the evil side would level up. That would also mean opening these zones to "good" side and that's were open PvP would take place. At the same time opening current zones to "dark" side to rampage. That could come as first payed expansion. I hope the chicken play they added already is a preparation for making such a move.

    It wouldn't need to be just the dark side, if you played the old CCG Middle Earth, you know there was more sides in the conflict. Fallen Wizards and their own army and areas, Balrog side (Underground races), Harad, Easterlings ... etc

    They could do it like they do for the Hobbits, start you off in an instanced zone that doesnt exist after you finish the intro quests, or rather exists but at a higher level, so that you actually start out in Archet still. (This was alot clearer sounding in my head)  I just got the LoTR books for Christmas and so far it seems like they have followed it along pretty well, but still there is much more they could do so that gives me hope. Although I think they might have done well to set the game in the time Gandalf was gone finding out about the ring. It might have been cool to be a wood elf tracking down Gollum lol.

  • natuxatunatuxatu Denver, COPosts: 1,371Member

     

    Originally posted by vipjerry


    This game is WoW or EQ2 with less options, you really have to be a huge JRR Tolkien fan to actually play it for more than a month. This book 12 info just reminds me that nothings gonna change and that this will continue to be a sterile, noninventive, uninteresting and totally dumbed down mmorpg.



    Actually the battles system is much better and the quests are much more entertaining to me. The also take as much advantage of a smaller area as possible so you don't have to travel forever to complete one quest. Also there is a lot less kill x amount quests. I love the look and style and the traditional feel of the game. (Which I believe you called noninventive.) The community is very helpful and friendly and mature for the most part.

     

    Furthermore you do not have to be a huge JRR Tolkien fan to play the game as I am not, nor have I even read the books... so in conclusion what you failed to mention is that what you wrote was your opinion and less factual than you made it sound.

    image

  • HexxeityHexxeity Kansas City, MOPosts: 848Member

    Seems Turbine is copying not just WoW the game, but the entire WoW Vision, right down to the focus on solo play and endgame content.  Too bad.

    I play MULTIPLAYER games because I want to group  with other players.  Players are not willing to group if it is just as easy (or easier) to level up alone.  What they should be focusing on is adding incentives to grouping (right now, there are NO incentives).  If people see grouping as a chore, Turbine needs to modify and enhance its grouping tools, not throw out the baby with the bathwater by encouraging more solo play.

    I am really getting tired of MMOGs being multiplayer in name only.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,460Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Hexxeity


    Seems Turbine is copying not just WoW the game, but the entire WoW Vision, right down to the focus on solo play and endgame content.  Too bad.
    I play MULTIPLAYER games because I want to group  with other players.  Players are not willing to group if it is just as easy (or easier) to level up alone.  What they should be focusing on is adding incentives to grouping (right now, there are NO incentives).  If people see grouping as a chore, Turbine needs to modify and enhance its grouping tools, not throw out the baby with the bathwater by encouraging more solo play.
    I am really getting tired of MMOGs being multiplayer in name only.

    They are responding to what many in the player base are asking for. Myself included. MMO's are mulit player. But that can manifest itself in many ways. I for one like having other people around and some interaction. But at times I want to be able to sign on, do some things and sign off. Looking for a group takes too long and it can even be a bad group.

    grouping is not the only way that people can interact in an online game.

  • chaintmchaintm Chicago, ILPosts: 972Member Common

    Good game no doubt, definitly needs more content, I might even venture back in if they added more. Suprise suprise, solo content on the way, all the cries from the fanbots saying this is an MMO and there is not suppose to be solo content. Big suprise this was one of the points hit on this discussion with Jeff. Allot of people like myself left because it was just crazy to sit for hours on in trying to get group after group to level another character. I guess it is safe to say now that more solo content is needed and the devs finally see that. To bad those loud voices on the forums there and even here still say "ITS AN MMO ! THERE IS NO SINGLE PLAYER!" lol, listen up folks. MMO's are persistent worlds that bring people togather, however when a game forces your hand in what you do and when and how you do it , most will bail ship and wait for a new title that does not.

    We want to game with our friends and make new ones, but we never wanted to be forced to be your friend, for all I know your a jerk in RL just like you are in the fantasy world huh?

     

     

    "The monster created isn't by the company that makes the game, it's by the fans that make it something it never was"

  • vipjerryvipjerry ZagrebPosts: 157Member

    Actually the battles system is much better and the quests are much more entertaining to me. The also take as much advantage of a smaller area as possible so you don't have to travel forever to complete one quest. Also there is a lot less kill x amount quests. I love the look and style and the traditional feel of the game. (Which I believe you called noninventive.) The community is very helpful and friendly and mature for the most part.
    Im sorry but i dont agree with you, system is completely same if not worst cos of less choices you can do. I really don't see a difference can i have some pointers did i miss someting? And if we talk about taking advantage of small areas i dont remember when did i last time spent so much time cluesly walking around like i did in LOTRO.

    Overall nice game but i think Turbine has lost it touch with reality and last original and inventive thing they did was AC. And i dont like this attitude "we want do it cos book says this or that" comon its just silly.

     

  • ThillianThillian BratislavaPosts: 3,143Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Hexxeity


    Seems Turbine is copying not just WoW the game, but the entire WoW Vision, right down to the focus on solo play and endgame content.  Too bad.
    I play MULTIPLAYER games because I want to group  with other players.  Players are not willing to group if it is just as easy (or easier) to level up alone.  What they should be focusing on is adding incentives to grouping (right now, there are NO incentives).  If people see grouping as a chore, Turbine needs to modify and enhance its grouping tools, not throw out the baby with the bathwater by encouraging more solo play.
    I am really getting tired of MMOGs being multiplayer in name only.
    What !? Hillarious! Turbine IS COPYING WOW VISION? Wasn't in Asheron's Call 2 first game made by Turbine using same engine as LOTRO completely oriented on solo with tons of solo quest, no xp death penalty, ... etc? Wasn't in Blizzard who copied Turbine's Vision completely??!

    I can't believe people like that still exist.

    REALITY CHECK

  • vipjerryvipjerry ZagrebPosts: 157Member

    Nah Microsoft did AC2 and failed miserably, Turbine just put few last nails into the coffin.

  • smitty0356smitty0356 Goose Creek, SCPosts: 368Member

    To be honest, I can't think of many successful systems the world has stolen from WOW....  Maybe something in the class balance system (like renaming a pally or shaman)

    Aside from that, I can name about 30 things that WOW has "incorporated" into their game through patches AFTER another mmo has released it as it's unique content.

    To be honest, I think any mmo that is dedicated to it's fanbase has to have it's eyes open to all new ideas, and implement the best one's into it's game as quickly as possible.  It's just good business sense to keep your product competitive, and if it means adding a mission difficulty scalar, then so be it.  I think blizzard is a great company for stripping one dimensional games of their one twinkle of uniqeness in an otherwise boring game.

    I don't think any radical idea will topple wow, I think it will have to be a professionally developed game with depth, content, and some new ideas and new technology that older games just can't match.  frankly if a company shows up with less than that, then they deserve to have better games adapt to their one advantage.  But enough of the intellectual property issue...  I think Lotro has some of the initial components to be a game that can make it in the market today.

    A dedicated content addition policy is key to a game's success.  I think that it is possibly the most important issue out side of game mechanics that determine the longevity of a game.

    Elite poster by 82

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